Curated by Alyssa Arney & Natalie Mik
On November 7, 2015, Gallery de Fox proudly presents it’s second showcase, featuring a premier solo photography exhibition by artist Matthew Grant Anson titled Off the Metro, an exploration into the undocumented or ignored areas and peoples of LA by using the Metro as a means of discovering/reaching them. The Metro’s interesting and dramatic historical origins are necessary to discuss in order to contextualize and frame the exhibition that makes Anson’s work possible.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA or Metro) is the descendent of the 1993 merger between the Southern California Rapid Transit District (RTD) and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC). The union occurred due to the inability to negotiate a long standing feud between the two companies. The impassioned relationship is documented by the LA Times which wrote that the LACTC’s Blue Line to Downtown LA project, would stop just 6 blocks from the RTD’s 7th Street Metro Center subway station. The reprehensible competition prevented the public to access a logical and easy connection between the rail lines that, in turn, infuriated them and instigated politician Richard Katz to intervene and write legislation that would combine the two transit systems. The Metro began running on April 1, 1993. Currently, the rail system covers 87.8 miles while it’s bus coverage is 1,433 miles. It has a daily ridership of 1,352, 499 people and a 1 way ticket at regular price is $1.75 versus a monthly pass at $100.
Matthew Grant Anson utilizes the Metro which has been around for nearly as long as Anson’s been alive, not only as a transport method to and from his work, but also as an artistic conduit and a poetic metaphor, that aids in facilitating and dictating where he is capable of shooting and documenting his journey as a human, and a photographer and artist.
This exhibition dives headfirst into the city of Los Angeles, a place generally presumed to be a glitzy, glamorous, trendsetting mecca. Anson takes us on a ride to places marked by economic disparity and social issues; social and environmental situations that have been created and abandoned by having an economy driven by international trade, entertainment and films. He captures vibrant colors and strong compositional angles to display unfettered urban life, some showing candid portraits of local personalities, others weaved into unique landscape compositions.
Anson, a native to the city, finds that even after having lived in LA his entire life, is still able to discover new pockets, corners, and cultures that he was unaware existed before stepping off from the Metro. His photographs are individual documentative artifacts that tell unique and engaging stories of the people, places, and discarded objects that he meets along his expeditions. Anson, through brazen, audacious and sometimes dangerous and unpredictable means, allows us a window to the raw, unfiltered and refreshing recontextualization of the urban, social and environmental niches that inhabit the vast and boundless city of LA.
As the Metro grows and develops current and new lines to cover more area, allowing the public the opportunity for commuting and traveling, so to will Matthew’s work grow, morph, and develop as he visits new areas and meets new people off the stops that were inaccessible before.
Matthew Grant Anson was born in Santa Monica and grew up in the Glendale area. He first found an interest in photography while earning his BA in political science at Whittier College. He began shooting in underground LA punk shows located in people’s homes and backyards. Since graduating in 2013, Anson has expanded his subject to primarily street photography and exploring the humans, environments, and architectures within the limitless nature of the city. Anson’s use of the Metro as an artistic conduit dictates where his day of exploration will begin and is pivotal to his technique for weaving through the diverse fabric of the city.
Gallery de Fox is a newly opened and privately owned art gallery that is located in the heart of the Santa Ana artwalk. It’s first exhibition, Havana, opened in October of 2015.